Edel Rodriguez

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Edel Rodriguez
Born (1971-08-22) August 22, 1971 (age 48)
EducationBFA, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York, 1994
MFA, Hunter College, 1998
Known forillustration, fine artist

Edel Rodriguez (born August 22, 1971 in Havana, Cuba) is a Cuban American artist, illustrator, and children's book author. He uses a variety of materials, his work ranges from conceptual to portraiture and landscape. Socialist propaganda and western advertising, island culture and contemporary city life, are all aspects of his life that inform his work.

Early life and education[edit]

Rodriguez arrived in the United States during the Mariel boatlift crisis, 1980.

Until the age of 9, Rodriguez lived in the Cuban countryside town of El Gabriel. In an interview conducted by Yuko Shimizu, Rodriguez described his earliest visual influences as military, revolutionary and nationalist imagery.[1] In 1980 Rodriguez emigrated to the United States with his father, Cesareo Rodriguez mother, Coralia Rodriguez and sister Irma as one of the thousands of Cubans who took part in the Mariel boatlift.[2] His family of four arrived in Key West and as the Cuban government had taken possession of the families home, car, furniture and even clothes, the Rodriguez family had little to start a new life with. The family moved in with relatives in Miami, Florida where Edel's father established a trucking business. Within a couple of years of arriving in the United States, Rodriguez had mastered the language to the point that he became a Spelling Bee champion.[3] Rodriguez graduated from Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School in 1990.

After graduation from High School, Rodriguez declined a full scholarship to The University of Miami and instead attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. While a student at Pratt, Rodriguez interned at Spy magazine, MTV and Penguin Books.[4] After graduating from Pratt with honors and earning a BFA on a full scholarship in painting. Rodriguez went on to earn a M.F.A. from Hunter College in 1998.[5]

In 1991, Rodriguez met Jennifer Roth;the two married in 1997.[6]


In 1994 Rodriguez began work as an art director for Time magazine. At 26, Rodriguez was the youngest art director to ever work on Time's Canadian and Latin American editions.[4] He held this position until 2008, when he began dedicating all of his time to art and commercial illustration. While working at Time, Rodriguez produced a significant amount of illustration work, the majority of which was done in the evenings.[1] Some of the more memorable commercial works produced during this period were his June 27, 2005 Time magazine cover for China's New Revolution [1] in which Mao Zedong is depicted wearing Louis Vuitton and his May/June 2006 cover for Communication Arts [2] depicting Che Guevara wearing a Nike logo and Apple headphones. The Time cover depicting Mao Zedong was later used in 2009 as the cover for Lürzer's 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide.

Throughout his career, Rodriguez has utilized a variety of artistic media including paint, printmaking, pastel, line drawing as well as digital manipulation.[1]

Rodriguez' work has been published by magazines such as The New Yorker, Time, Rolling Stone, Fortune and others. Rodriguez' work has also been used by corporate clients such as MTV, Pepsi Inc and others.[5] Rodriguez' work also appears regularly on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times.[7]

In 2005, the U.S. Postal Service released the Cha-Cha-Cha stamp, illustrated by Rodriguez.[8]

Artistic approach[edit]

Rodriguez believes that illustrations have the ability to influence and inspire people in a way that words can not, because they can tell a complicated story in a simple way.[9]

In the News[edit]

For the 2015 February 8 issue of Newsweek, the cover story by Nina Burleigh was illustrated by Rodriguez.[10] The cover image, portraying a woman with her skirt being lifted up by a computer cursor created controversy,[11] with some calling it a faceless and sexualized symbol of women.[12] The cover image also created what NBC News described as a "firestorm" on Twitter, after the website Jezebel derided the illustration.[13] Others considered the cover image appropriate to the subject matter of the article.[14] Burleigh, the author of the article on which the illustration was based described the critical comments as petty.[15] On PBS, Rodriguez defended the work saying "it’s not sexist, it depicts the ugliness of sexism".[16]

For the 2016 August 22 issue of Time, editor-in-chief Nancy Gibbs focused their cover on Republican Donald Trump's presidential campaign, with the cover title Meltdown and DW Pine commissioned Rodriguez for the cover illustration.[17][18] The cover appeared on various news broadcasts, including PBS[19] and MSNBC,[20] as well as generating news coverage in such magazines and newspapers as The Washington Post[21] and People[22]

For the February 4, 2017 issue of Der Spiegel, Rodriguez's cover image depicting President Donald Trump holding the Statue of Liberty's severed head in one hand and a knife in the other, with the cover title America First[3] generated news coverage in such publications as The Washington Post,[23] The Guardian,[24] Newsweek[25] and other news outlets. The cover image was described as tasteless by vice-president of the European Parliament, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff[26] and defended by Der Spiegel editor-in-chief Klaus Brinkbaeumer, who commented that he was surprised by the impact of the illustration.[24]

The August 28th, 2017 issue of Time Magazine, titled Hate in America focused on a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia,[27] that resulted in the death of 2 police officers and a 32 year old women.[28] Illustrated by Rodriguez [4],[29] the cover art, depicting a protester giving a Nazi salute while draped in an American flag was covered in the news by CNN[30] and Market Watch[31] as well as other media outlets.

In early 2018, Rodriguez met U2's stage designer, Es Devlin at the Design Indaba Conference in Cape Town, South Africa. An upcoming U2 tour, eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE, was still being developed at that time and Rodriguez was brought in to create 40 works of art that would be shown prominently during the pre-show and prior to the second act of the performance. His illustrations incorporated text from the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, with texts such as "When the government becomes destructive it is the right of the people to abolish it" and slogans such as "Poverty Is Sexist" and "Educate a girl, empower a community." They also covered social issues such as immigration, gun violence, and free speech with signs that read, "Refugees Welcome", and "Fight Back!".[32]

Theatrical posters[edit]

Film posters[edit]

  • Celia the Queen directed by Joe Cardona, Mario de Varona (2008), with Celia Cruz, David Byrne, Wyclef Jean, Quincy Jones, Narciso Rodriguez
  • Heaven on Earth directed by Deepa Mehta, (2008), starring Preity Zinta
  • Reportero directed by Bernardo Ruiz
  • The Graduates/Los Graduados PBS documentary directed by Bernardo Ruiz (2013)[6]

Book covers[edit]

Children's book illustrator[edit]

  • Mama Does the Mambo by Katherine Leiner (2001) (ISBN 0-7868-0646-X)
  • Float Like a Butterfly by Ntozake Shange (2002) (ISBN 0786805544)
  • Oye, Celia! by Katie Sciurba (2007) (ISBN 0805074686)
  • Sonia Sotomayor by Jonah Winter (2009) (ISBN 9781442403031)

Children's book author and illustrator[edit]

Art exhibitions[edit]

  • Dystopia, solo exhibition at Curly Tale Fine Art, Chicago, 2013[35]
  • Here | There, solo exhibition at Gallery Nucleus, 2010[36]
  • Curator Power Pens: The Art of Politics, Society of Illustrators (2008)[37]

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Illustration Friday Interview". Archived from the original on October 22, 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  2. ^ "Pippin Properties Biography". Retrieved April 13, 2013.
  3. ^ "American Institute of Graphic Arts Biography". Retrieved April 13, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Edel Rodriguez". AIGA. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Illoz Biography". Retrieved April 13, 2013.
  6. ^ Heller, Steven; Fernandes, Teresa (2010). Becoming a Graphic Designer. John Wiley & Sons. p. 275.
  7. ^ Kraus, Jerelle (2012). All The Art That's Fit To Print. Columbia University Press. p. 237.
  8. ^ https://www.commarts.com/project/6203/cha-cha-cha-stamp
  9. ^ Frank, Priscilla. "Anti-Trump Illustrator Is A Cuban Immigrant Who Knows What A Dictator Looks Like". The Huffington Post. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
  10. ^ "Newsweek Feb 8 2015 issue". Newsweek. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  11. ^ Sklar, Rachelle. "Sexism still alive and well in Silicon Valley (and on Newsweek cover)". Today. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  12. ^ Tsotsis, Alexia. "What (Some) Silicon Valley Women Think Of Newsweek". Tech Crunch. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  13. ^ Bhattacharjee, Riya. ""Ugh! That Newsweek Cover": Silicon Valley Women Respond". KNTV. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  14. ^ Alba, Alejandro. "Newsweek's cover story about sexism in Silicon Valley sparks controversy". New York Daily News. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  15. ^ Brekke, Kira. "Newsweek Correspondent: Outrage Over Latest February Cover Is 'Petty'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  16. ^ Tam, Ruth. "Artist behind Newsweek cover". PBS Newshour. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  17. ^ "Meltdown". Time. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  18. ^ Welton, Casey. "The Cover Story: Time Captures Trump's Meltdown". min. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  19. ^ Donald Trump's meltdown, the debate over debates and Walmart moms face tough choice. PBS. August 12, 2016 – via YouTube.
  20. ^ Time puts Trump's 'meltdown' front and center. Morning Joe. MSNBC. August 11, 2016.
  21. ^ Borchers, Callum. "Donald Trump should hate this Time magazine cover, but he'll probably hang it in his office". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  22. ^ McAfee, Tierney. "Inside Trump's Meltdown". People Magazine. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  23. ^ Borchers, Callum. "This Der Spiegel Trump cover is stunning". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
  24. ^ a b "German magazine defends cover of Trump beheading Statue of Liberty". The Guardian. Retrieved February 4, 2017.
  25. ^ "Der Spiegel: Trump Beheading Cover Aabout 'Defending Democracy'". Newsweek. Reuters. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
  26. ^ "Der Spiegel: Trump beheading cover sparks criticism". BBC News. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
  27. ^ Dwyer, Colin. "Charlottesville Rally Aimed To Defend A Confederate Statue. It May Have Doomed Others". NPR. Retrieved August 18, 2017.
  28. ^ Bowman, Emma. "Charlottesville Victim Heather Heyer 'Stood Up' Against What She Felt Was Wrong". NPR. Retrieved August 18, 2017.
  29. ^ Pine, DJ. "Behind TIME's 'Hate in America' Cover". Time. Retrieved August 18, 2017.
  30. ^ Wattles, Jackie. "Top magazines take on Trump and hate". CNNMoney. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  31. ^ Murphy, Mike. "Hate in America: 3 devastating magazine covers on Charlottesville's aftermath". Market Watch. Retrieved August 18, 2017.
  32. ^ "America's Illustrator-In-Chief". U2. July 7, 2018.
  33. ^ a b c "Edel Rodriguez's theater posters". April 1, 2008.
  34. ^ a b c "Theatre Posters by Edel Rodriguez". April 8, 2009. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014.
  35. ^ "Curly Tale Fine Art".
  36. ^ "Gallery Nucleus". February 20, 2010.
  37. ^ Amid Capeci (December 8, 2008). "Society of Publication Designers".
  38. ^ "Society of Illustrators Annual Awards". Retrieved May 11, 2013.
  39. ^ "Art Directors Club Annual Awards". Archived from the original on May 10, 2013. Retrieved May 11, 2013.
  40. ^ "American Society of Magazine Editors". Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  41. ^ "The Most Creative People of the Year". Advertising Age. Retrieved December 20, 2016.

External links[edit]